Learn How to Dry Mint Easily at Home
Mint can be dried in a variety of ways to extend the enjoyment of the aromatic qualities throughout the year. Several different techniques are available as circumstances such as weather, available space and end use might determine which method is best. Tea is the most popular use of dried Mint, but other uses include adding a sachet of mint to your hot bath water to provide a soothing “pick me up” for tired muscles and weary mind.
1. Traditional Method
Gathering Loose Bunches to Hang
- Garden or Kitchen shears
- Basket or other container suitable for Dill sprigs
- Salad Spinner or two clean kitchen towels
- Rubber Bands
- Clothes Drying Rack, Dry attic or porch
- Small Brown Paper Bags (optional)
- Gather your Mint harvest in the morning hours after the sun has dried away the dew of the night.
- Gather the sprigs into loose bundles and secure the stems with rubber bands to assure that the bundles stay together as they dry.
- If using brown paper bags, cover each bundle with the bags that have slits cut into the sides to allow for adequate air flow around the herbs. The paper bags keep dust off of the Mint as it dries and the sunlight from bleaching out the color. Care must be taken to make sure that enough air flows through the bag to keep the Mint from molding. Check occasionally to make sure, and, if need be either cut more holes in the bags or remove them. Sometimes the moisture builds up inside the bag, especially if the sun hits it, allowing fungus and mildew to form.
- Hang upside down in a warm, dry place such as an attic or porch until the leaves are brittle to the touch, approximately 2 weeks.
- Gather the dried bundles and place on a sheet of wax paper.
- Crumble the dried leaves and separate out all of the tough stems onto the wax paper.
- Gather up two corners of the paper and form a funnel. Pour the Mint into a clean, dry glass jar or a vacuum sealer pouch and seal tightly.
2. Oven Drying Method
Drying Large Batches in your Home Oven
Mint can be dried in the oven at the lowest temperature, or, if you have a gas stove with a pilot light, spread out on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper in a single layer.
Special Note: If using cookie sheets to dry the herbs, place the herbs to be dried on parchment paper to avoid direct contact with the metal trays. Metal contact darkens the color of the herb being dried, causing the Mint to loose its bright green color.
- Salad Spinner or two clean kitchen towels
- Kitchen shears or good chopping knife
- Chopping board or block Parchment Paper
- Cookie Sheet
- Wash and gently spin dry the fresh Mint sprigs.
- Pick out the discolored leaves and tough stems.
- Preheat your oven to lowest temperature setting…usually 170 degrees f.
- Spread the leaves out on parchment paper lined cookie sheet in a single layer.
- Place in oven on racks that have been evenly spaced in the oven, allowing for maximum air filtration, for 30 minutes or so and stir the mint to allow all of the leaves to dry. Start checking the Mint every 15 minutes or so after the initial check. The mint crumbles easily between your fingers when it is dry. Drying times may vary according climate conditions and the number of trays in the oven. Rotating the trays on the racks also helps speed up drying time.
- Gather up the parchment paper into a funnel and place smallest end over the mouth of a clean, completely dry jar or vacuum sealer pouch and seal tightly.
3. Solar Drying Mint
Using the Sun to Dry Your Mint Harvest
Using the sun to dry herbs is the time honored technique used for centuries to preserve them for use after the seasonal harvest. The easiest way is to gather loose bundles as discussed earlier and hang from portable racks or clothes line stretched between trees in a sunny spot.
Trays made from wood and/or screen lined with cheesecloth, parchment paper or wax paper are also a common way to dry large amounts of leaves at a time. Do not, however, expose the Mint to galvanized or aluminum screening, as the aluminum and galvanization chemicals can leach onto your drying herbs and pollute the outcome. If this type of screen is used, make sure you line the screen with cheese cloth first. Covering the screens is recommended with either another screen or more loosely draped cheese cloth. This helps prevent unwanted insects, birds and the wind from disturbing the herbs as they dry.
The major drawback to this method is that you are completely at the mercy of the weather. In the event that the weather turns, a sheet of plastic can be draped over the trays during the rain, but must be removed as soon as possible before the sun hits the trays to keep moisture from building up under the plastic, causing mold or mildew.
Add another day for every rainy day to the total drying time. If the weather turns bad for an extended period, either moving the trays to a warm, dry place or finishing the drying process in your oven are preferred.
- Wooden trays or screens
- Cheese cloth, wax or parchment paper
- Freshly harvested Mint Sprigs
- Blocks to separate trays for air filtration
- Prepare each tray by lining with cheese cloth, wax or parchment paper.
- Spread the Mint sprigs or groomed leaves onto the trays in an even single layer and cover. If the trays are stacked, use the blocks to separate them at least 3″ apart to allow for proper air filtration.
- Place trays in a sunny location to dry. Make sure that the weather forecast predicts 3 or 4 days of dry, hot weather with daytime temperatures in the 90s f.
- Check the screens or trays at least twice a day to make sure that the leaves are getting dry. If you have stacked the trays, rotating them from top to bottom helps speed up the drying time.
- When the leaves feel dry and flake easily, the Mint is ready to store.
- Leave the leaves whole or Crumble the dried Mint onto wax or parchment paper. Gather two corners of the paper to form a funnel and pour the herbs into a clean, dry jar or a vacuum sealer pouch and seal tightly.
Place the sealed jar or pouch in a dry, dark place such as your kitchen cabinet, pantry or even your freezer.